Banner Default Image


Ask Lawrence: Talking mental health in the creative industry

25 Sep 09:00 By Lawrence Akers


Some jobs are inevitably going to build more of an identity than others.

Some people will do a job simply because it is a way to earn money and they discover that it is something that they’re good at.

Within the creative world though, it can be a little bit different.  For some people, being a “creative” isn’t just a job, it’s a calling.

With that increased sense of identity around ‘being a creative’ often comes additional pressures.

Like any job, there are going to be those inevitable stresses that occur especially when your role might require managing other people’s expectations and the deadlines that go along with that.

In the creative world though, an additional currency of worth comes from the conceptual idea.  Your job is to be creative; to think outside the box and to create a visual language that often connects multiple ideas together into a sophisticated visual construct.

We’re in a world that currently has the capacity to overwhelm people and to bring about a feeling of uncertainty.  The anxiety that many people are feeling is entirely expected however it can often cause us to feel detached from our focus and clarity.

Imagine for a moment what it might be like to wake up one day and wonder if you have enough in the tank to be conceptual and to come up with innovative ideas.

Imagine what it might be like to walk into your studio feeling unsure if you’re going to be able to deliver what your clients and team mates need from you.

This is before we even factor into this equation other situations such as toxic workplace environments or a person’s own sense of imposter syndrome; combine all these together and you can begin to get a sense as to why there does need to be more of a discussion on mental health and wellness within the creative community.

Over the past week, I had the pleasure to be able to talk to Jim Antonopoulos from TANK about their annual creative industry mental health report and why this report is so important to our community.  You can watch that discussion below, and you can contribute to this year’s report by filling in the survey here.

I encourage you to do it because the more data collected, the clearer the picture becomes and the more discussion can be continued.  And remember, while there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with mental health, one of the universal things that does help is the ability to reach out and to talk with someone you trust if you’re feeling like it can help.  Being able to share those thoughts and feelings can often be the first step in understanding them better and being able to deal with them in a more meaningful way.